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Customs search finds contraband in container

reporters@samoanews.com

The owner of the 20-foot container that has been under police microscope for the past two weeks made his initial appearance before the District Court yesterday morning. Aaron Wisdom from San Diego, California is charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance to wit: marijuana, Possession of Unlicensed Firearm and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition.

Wisdom was charged following the discovery of marijuana substance, drug paraphernalia, three firearms and live ammunition in the container that belonged to him. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement.

Court filings state that while Customs Agents were conducting a procedural search of the 20 foot container on January 13, 2012, they discovered what appeared to be a marijuana substance and the Vice and Narcotics Division officers were contacted. According to court affidavits, the defendant was present during the search of his container.

It’s alleged that during the search, customs agents came across what appeared to be a marijuana substance inside a clear vial container. Customs K-9 dog Grace ‘alerted’ near a box which contained a full glass of jelly, and when the customs agent tried to open it, the defendant yelled out not to open it, or the jelly would be spoiled.

When Senior Customs Agent Tavale attempted to transfer the confiscated items to Detective Amani Fatuesi, who’s the investigating officer, the glass of jelly was missing from the inspection table. Agent Tavale asked the defendant on the whereabouts of the Jelly Glass and he replied, he gave it to his girlfriend Adela Falk who had just left the scene. Agent Tavale went to locate Falk who told the customs agents that she gave it to Joe Afo who gave her a ride to the restaurant.

According to court filings, Agent Tavale told the defendant’s girlfriend that if she does not turn over the glass of jelly everything that’s in the container will be seized. At that point, Falk handed over the glass of jelly and it was then turned over to police, say court documents.

The glass of jelly contained three much smaller containers which had brownish liquid that tested positive for marijuana. The inspection continued with K-9 police dog Grace alerting near a vacuum cleaner, which had a plastic bag containing dust and a loose green leafy substance which also tested positive for marijuana. Several boxes of ammunition and three firearms—a 22-Calliber, a Gauge Shotgun and a handgun— were also confiscated from the container.

According to court affidavit, police also confiscated numerous drug paraphernalia, such as pipes commonly used to smoke marijuana, a large quantity of items related to the cultivation of marijuana such as liquid fertilizer, plant growth enhancers specifically for marijuana plants, insect sprays, grow lights, silver reflective foil, heat thermometers, several books and magazines on how to grow marijuana, a digital scale, several photographs of marijuana plants including the defendant in a photo, a Tamisium Extractor, which is an oil extractor machine advertised as a way to extract botanicals and essential oils for cosmetics, perfumes, and medical research, but can also be used to to extract the oil from marijuana. Along with the extractor, were multiple cans of butane (used in the extraction process).   

The defendant admitted that most of the items confiscated belonged to him. He also admitted that he placed the glass of jelly into the container but claims that he was not aware of what was inside the glass. According to court documents, the defendant told police he had help from his friends loading his container, and claimed he had no knowledge of how the marijuana got into the container. He admitted that he smokes marijuana.

Wisdom’s bail was set at $30,000, however his lawyer requested that bail be dropped to $20,000. Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag told the court that due to the nature of the charges against the defendant, bail should remain at $30,000.

However, Judge Ward reduced bail to $20,000 and ordered the defendant to surrender his passport, attend all his court hearings, be a law abiding citizen and he’s subject to random testing for any illegal substance.

The defendant’s preliminary examination hearing is scheduled for next week Monday. Ward told the defendant the preliminary examination is a probable cause hearing to determine whether the government has sufficient evidence to have the case bound over to the High Court.



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